With Global Climate Action Summit, Paris Comes to San Francisco 

But perhaps more important are the events organizing around it.

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They will also highlight the victories of local communities in stopping the expansion of fossil fuel. In the Bay Area in recent years, people organizing in Benicia and Pittsburg stopped two projects to increase rail transportation of crude oil. More recently, community groups in Oxnard forced the shutdown of a polluting power plant, and the Kern County city of Arvin recently passed restrictions on the expansion of oil drilling.

The events leading up to the Global Climate Action Summit started more than two weeks earlier. On Aug. 24, the Berkeley city government hosted a "town hall" meeting for Bay Area cities, regional agencies, and grassroots organizations to start planning a "Regional Just Transition and Climate Emergency Mobilization Collaborative Effort." One of the city's goals for the town hall was to "ask public officials to sign on to a letter about what needs to be accelerated, to bring to the GCAS," said Sara Kershnar, chief of staff for Berkeley City Councilmember Cheryl Davila.

Then, on Sept. 8, under the slogan "Rise for Climate, Jobs, and Justice," thousands of people are expected to converge in San Francisco in a march calling for "an immediate end to new fossil fuel projects" and a renewable energy economy "that rapidly expands economic opportunity, creates family-sustaining jobs, and protects vulnerable communities, workers, and future generations." Thousands of rallies in cities all over the world will echo those demands.

Although sister rallies will take place in Los Angeles and San Diego, organizers are "asking anybody within a day's drive to come to San Francisco," said Vanessa Warheit of 350.org. "We need as many people as possible in the streets — and also it's a chance to help build solidarity in California." Her organization is chartering buses and providing a clearinghouse for carpools and housing.

"The march will be led by California and other indigenous tribal members, then those who live on the frontlines," said Zizi of Idle No More. That includes residents of Richmond, Oakland, and other communities polluted by fossil fuel operations, as well as communities like those in the North Bay impacted by climate events like wildfires.

A labor contingent will represent the more than 30 participating unions and workers' centers as well as individual members of other unions. The San Francisco and Alameda County central labor councils have endorsed the march. "The climate crisis is making all our other struggles worse, from defending our democracy to finding a place to live," said Hawthorne of SEIU.

She added that the labor contingent wants a "just transition" to good union jobs for workers in the extractive industry, as clean energy replaces fossil fuel. "This is something the [climate] movement needs to take up," she said.

Some contingents will represent groups like youth, elders, and faith communities, while others will focus on the connections between climate change and other issues, such as health care and militarism, and promote solutions like clean energy, "eco-agriculture," and clean transportation.

Preparations for the march emphasize the goal of making it "full of art, beautiful!" said Zoe Cina-Sklar, of the youth climate organization Sunrise. After marching from Embarcadero Plaza to the Civic Center Plaza, the group plans to paint a series of giant murals on surrounding streets. On the plaza itself, a "resource fair" will showcase the work of participating organizations and try to plug people in to ongoing efforts.

The day after the march, Sol2Sol organizers will conduct tours of Bay Area communities "to uplift the local frontline struggles we're dealing with against fossil fuel expansion — also solutions," said Zizi. The tour will start at the Ohlone shellmound in West Berkeley, site of a current fight to protect an indigenous sacred site from development. It will visit sources of fossil fuel pollution like refineries, including a simulated "shelter in place" scenario at the Richmond Chevron refinery. The tour will also visit sites of local solutions such as clean energy projects and community farms.

The tour is one of several efforts to create platforms where people impacted by the fossil fuel industry can tell their own stories, including "Live from the Frontlines," which is creating videos of people in those communities and posting them online. "We want to show the human component, the health component," such as increased rates of asthma and heart and lung disease in communities near oil wells and refineries, said Damien Luzzo, who helped create the project. The group plans to combine the videos into a documentary that will show in locations around the Bay Area before and during the Climate Action Summit.

Starting Sept. 9 and going through Sept. 11, the annual Soil Not Oil conference, usually held in Richmond, will meet in San Francisco. The conference was inspired by the work of scientist Vandana Shiva, who argues that industrial agriculture worsens the climate crisis by depleting the soil with chemical fertilizers and driving farmers off the land.

The Soil Not Oil conference showcases agricultural methods that increase organic matter in the soil as a way of absorbing carbon from the atmosphere. Sequestering carbon in the soil, said conference organizer Miguel Robles, is a proven and powerful method, unlike schemes to develop new carbon-sequestration technology. He pointed to a statement from the 2015 UN climate conference that declared that increasing carbon in the soil by as little .4 percent a year would "halt the increase in the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere due to human activities."



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